Irish Creativity in the Global Spotlight as Festivals to the Fore this Autumn

07 Sep 2011

Tourism Ireland has launched a major promotional campaign aimed at attracting more tourists to come and visit the island of Ireland this autumn, with a strong focus on showcasing Ireland’s rich cultural tradition and the arts.

The campaign, which is being rolled out in Great Britain, the US, Mainland Europe, Australia and emerging markets will incorporate a focus on city breaks as well as on attracting visitors to more rural parts of the island, highlighting the many cultural festivals and events taking place right around the island this autumn – ranging from the Dublin Festival Season (which includes Dublin Contemporary 2011, Absolut Dublin Fringe Festival, the acclaimed Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival and Arthur’s Day), to the Belfast Festival at Queens, the Westport Arts Festival, Bollinger Kinsale Gourmet Festival, Wexford Festival Opera, Cork Jazz Festival and the Banks of the Foyle Hallowe’en Carnival in Derry. 

Activity involves co-operative promotions with Aer Lingus and Ryanair, as well as TV, radio and online advertising.  According to Tourism Ireland, the period September to December traditionally yields as much as 30% of our overall tourism business.

Tourism Minister Leo Varadkar TD, said: “This promises to be an innovative campaign to promote Ireland in our key markets.  I hope it will build on the tentative signs of recovery we have seen in the tourism industry this year.  The festivals theme, both in Dublin and around the country, should be a strong incentive to encourage short holiday breaks in Ireland.”

Tourism Ireland chief executive Niall Gibbons said that 2011 has been a more positive year so far than 2010 for the tourism industry, with a welcome growth of +12% in visitors numbers from overseas recorded for the first half of the year.  He said: “Anecdotal reports from our industry partners around the island of Ireland confirm a more positive picture overall than this time last year.  However, we know that distribution of visitors is uneven, with some areas performing better than others.  The outlook for North America, Mainland Europe and emerging markets is positive for the coming months.  The economic situation in Britain remains fragile and we are keeping the market under close review.

“Our autumn campaign will capitalise on late booking trends, as there is still everything to play for.  Many people are opting for shorter holiday breaks this year, and autumn is a good opportunity with the many festivals and events that are happening around the island.  In association with our industry colleagues we have enticing autumn/winter packages to offer consumers, developed around festivals and themes such as food, music, literature and the arts.” 

An intensive programme of activity is under way in Britain, our largest and most important tourism market, which last year attracted over 3.5 million visitors to the island.  Attractive city break packages are a key element of the autumn campaign in GB and a programme is also in place to attract car touring visitors.  In addition to TV, press, online and radio advertising, Tourism Ireland has extensive social media and publicity campaigns in the pipeline for the coming months.  The autumn TV campaign will reach up to 18.5 million potential holidaymakers and over 16 million people around Britain will hear radio ads highlighting city breaks in Dublin and Belfast and placing the spotlight on our festivals, music, literature, living culture and Titanic.

An extensive campaign in the US will target both consumers and the travel trade, encouraging Americans to travel to the island of Ireland during the fall/winter period.  Campaign messages will remind Americans that the island of Ireland offers a unique, distinctive and worthwhile vacation experience; and will highlight the great value airfares and vacation packages on offer during the shoulder period.  Tourism Ireland also has a packed marketing programme in place in Mainland Europe, particularly in France and in Germany, including extensive newspaper, online and radio advertising.  Tourism Ireland will continue to leverage the Irish Government’s Visa Waiver Scheme, announced as part of the ‘Jobs Initiative’ earlier this year, in emerging tourism markets like China, India and the GCC countries – reminding people there that if they are visiting the UK, they can now come to Ireland without the cost or hassle of applying for a separate visa. 


Further media information:
Sinéad Grace, Tourism Ireland  t:  087 685 9027

Notes to Editors

Highlights of Tourism Ireland’s autumn campaign around the globe include:

Great Britain
• Tourism Ireland’s autumn TV advertising campaign is under way and will run until mid-October, reaching up to 18.5 million potential GB holidaymakers, conveying the fun, friendliness and great things to do and see on a holiday or short break here; channels include ITV 1, 2 and 3, Channel 4 and a range of satellite channels.
• Over 16 million people around Britain will hear radio ads highlighting city breaks in Dublin and Belfast and placing the spotlight on our festivals, music, literature, living culture and Titanic.  Activity also includes radiotorials (radio interviews) with Mariella Frostrup promoting the Dublin Festival Season as well as full-page advertorials in The Guardian Guide this month.
• Millions more will see Tourism Ireland’s online campaign which runs to the end of November on a mix of lifestyle and travel websites, including The Guardian, Daily Mail, Lonely Planet and AOL. 
• Tourism Ireland will also undertake co-operative advertising with Aer Lingus in London, Manchester and Birmingham highlighting the Dublin Festival Season through press and radio.  Co-operative campaigns will also run in conjunction with Ryanair involving print advertising in key national and regional newspapers as well as direct marketing to 2.4 million Ryanair subscribers in GB.  Tourism Ireland will also co-operate with popular travel websites like, and
• Influential GB coach and group tour operators will be brought to Ireland, to meet with representatives of the Irish tourism industry at a workshop where they will negotiate for their 2012 programmes.
• Tourism Ireland will mount a significant presence at World Travel Market (WTM) in November; this is the largest B2B event in the global travel and tourism calendar, with almost 50,000 representatives of the tourism industry from around the world and 3,000 influential international media in attendance.  This year, about 60 Irish tourism enterprises – including hotels, ferry companies, incoming tour operators, visitor attractions, activity providers, hostels, representatives from Good Food Ireland and car hire companies – will join Tourism Ireland at WTM, which provides an invaluable platform for the participating tourism companies to network, negotiate and exchange vital contracts for 2012. 

• 9 million listeners a week will hear radio ads in Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Chicago over a four-week period and in Los Angeles over three weeks.
• An additional 26 million people will see print ads in travel and lifestyle magazines; and extensive online advertising will run on high profile travel websites such as Travelocity, Kayak, TravelZoo and Luxury Link. 
• TV ads will air on NBC Sports, promoting next year’s clash at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium between American football teams Notre Dame and Navy, to ensure as many fans as possible travel here for the game; the ads will appear during six Notre Dame games from mid-September to mid-November in the New York, Boston and Chicago areas.  Online ads will also feature on the TV station’s website.
• Co-operative promotions are under way with Aer Lingus, US Airways, Delta Vacations and Continental Vacations to push fall/winter travel to Dublin, Belfast and Shannon from key gateway cities and feeder cities in the US; this co-operative activity includes print and online ads, direct marketing to the airlines’ frequent flyer databases and in-flight media programming.
• Tourism Ireland will continue to showcase our world-class golf as part of its autumn campaign in the US.  A major highlight will include the Golf Channel’s popular reality show Big Break Ireland, which will launch on September 20 and run for ten weeks.  Tourism Ireland estimates that the publicity from the show will be worth $12 million over the three-month period, reaching 182 million golf fans around the US.
• The packed programme of B2B events will include presentations and sales calls by Irish tourism partners to over 300 top travel agents and travel and lifestyle journalists.  Industry partners will also join Tourism Ireland at the AARP Life@50 show in Los Angeles.
• Over 20 partners will join Tourism Ireland at the new IMEX America (International Meetings and Events Exhibition) promotion in Las Vegas in October, to promote the island of Ireland as a world-class destination for corporate meetings and incentive travel.

Mainland Europe
• A co-operative ad campaign with Aer Lingus will run in newspapers around Europe, highlighting attractive autumn airfares to Dublin and great reasons to visit, including the Dublin Festival Season.  In Frankfurt and Berlin alone, this campaign will target 3.25 million readers living in and around those cities; and in France, the campaign will reach over 1.5 million people in Paris and Lyon.  Ads in conjunction with Aer Lingus will also reach millions of French consumers on several Paris radio stations this autumn.
• An online campaign, highlighting Dublin, Belfast and Cork as fantastic city break destinations, will run on key travel and lifestyle websites in our main European markets.
• Co-operative promotions with Ryanair in France will include print ads highlighting great reasons to visit the West of Ireland, such as walking, surfing, fishing and golf; the West will also be the featured destination on the Ryanair website in France this autumn.
• Co-operative activity with Irish Ferries will include a familiarisation visit to Ireland for French group tour organisers; and Tourism Ireland will work with SAS and with Norwegian Airlines in Scandinavia on direct marketing to frequent flyer databases and business tourism contacts.
• 15 Irish tourism partners will participate in Tourism Ireland’s three-day sales blitz in Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm, meeting and doing business with influential travel trade and media contacts in the Scandinavian capitals.
• In Italy and Spain, Tourism Ireland will target the EFL (learning English as a Foreign Language) sector through social media and activity on websites popular with 18-30 year olds.
• And 29 influential coach tour operators from France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and the Nordic region will participate in our B2B workshop in Ireland this month, with good networking opportunities for tourism industry partners from around the island of Ireland.

Australia and Developing Markets
• Industry partners from around the island of Ireland will join Tourism Ireland for our sales missions to India, China and Japan this autumn, taking advantage of the opportunity to meet with key travel trade and media in those countries, through a programme of workshops and sales calls.
• In China, Tourism Ireland will undertake a co-operative online campaign with Bord Bia, targeting approximately 100,000 Chinese consumers with messages about our superb food and spectacular scenery.
• Our Flavours of Ireland B2B workshop in London will bring over 100 influential GB-based incoming tour operators together with various tourism and food organisations from Ireland; and our New Markets workshop and familiarisation trip will take place in Ireland in October, when Irish tourism providers will have the opportunity to network and do business with key travel agents and tour operators from countries like India, China, Japan and South Africa.



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